> > In other words, it points for the need for a prior knowledge
> > that pure formalism cannot acknowledge--a contextual formalism can give
> > access to some of these films, but we need to find the contexts first.
> > When an American viewer who even lacks much of the context of the classical
> > Western past encounters these works, there is little to anchor them.
> > --Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN
This was followed by Gloria Monti's:
> You are pointing to the important problem of diegetic
> intelligibility predicated upon extradiegetic knowledge. But isn't
> Bertolucci (not the Bertolucci of the "Asian" trilogy!) always assuming
> historical-cultural knowledge about his films? *Il Conformista,* just to
> name one. And Godard's *La Chinoise?* Godard in general? But we have
> all gained the necessary expertise to access these films, havent' we?
> Why can't it work for Sembene's films as well?
Here's my thought. If we try to say what we do see or know without
insisting that it is *right* there's a chance that someone with more
background or *extradiagetic* expertise will speak up and help out, and
we'll be all the wiser for this dialogue. The problem Don Larsson raises
in relation to YEELEN is a real one, but not a show-stopper.
(Gloria, I just have to say that the word *extradiagetic* always makes me
think of the Marx Brothers parody of legalese. I know you'll forgive me.)
Susan Denker Tufts Univ./Museum School